Taxes on Unhealthy Food Are Ineffective and Hurt the Poor Over the past decade or so, paternalistic objections to fat, sugar, and salt have gained traction among policymakers, mostly at the state and local levels of government. Predictably, new taxes … Continue reading Regressive taxes on poor people
How do we measure well-being? Opinions differ on the definition of well-being. Yet there’s a growing consensus that it cannot be reduced to material consumption and that other aspects of life, such as health and good social relations, are essential … Continue reading Is happiness just satisfaction?
What Do People Order at Cocktail Bars? The cocktail is arguably the greatest of America’s early cultural inventions. The martini, cosmopolitan, and long island iced tea are not just nice ways to get a buzz—they represent the beginning of an … Continue reading The cocktail illusion
Still ticking: The improbable survival of the luxury watch business On 17 March 2016, the watch manufacturer Breitling opened a lavish new stall at Baselworld, the world’s biggest watch fair, to show off its latest marvels. There was the Avenger … Continue reading When time was still our friend
Cash isn’t going away, but it will become digital For more than 3,000 years, cash has played a critical role in the way our society functions — due as much to its fiscal value as its emotional and cultural connotations. … Continue reading Thoughtless spending
The endless, and expensive, quest for rare objects A few months ago, I was invited to speak at a small marketing conference in Chicago. To attract attendees, its organizer promised everyone a one-ounce pour—a sip, more or less—of a cult … Continue reading The desire for the unusual
The Two Biases That Keep People From Saving Money That Americans don’t save enough money is a truism. But why don’t they? The answer is a complex mix of macroeconomics (incomes have stagnated for many workers over the last few … Continue reading Thinking about the future